Friday, May 1, 2009

Beltane, or the time I let my inner hippy out to play

Happy May Day everyone! I hope it is a nice day where you are, we have had moments of sun here, which is very good compared to the torrential rains of the past few days. The grass is green and the trees are blooming their little green fuzzies. There are a few magnolias out as well. Geee!

It brings to mind a May Day a few years ago (actually almost 10 years ago, but we won't talk about that)

My friends were taking "World Religions" together, and part of the requirements for the course was to research a holy festival of a world religion as a small group and present it to the class, complete with costumes and food and activities. So much fun to spend class time eating and singing and playing games!

anyway, one of the girls in my group of friends had a mother who was a pagan and a white witch, so we decided to do a pagan festival, and the one my friend liked the most, and the one that we would actually be able to attend before the end of the semester, was Beltane and May Day. We were very excited and had alot of fun researching and got very into our topic. we even got to have a sleepover so that we could attend Beltane in the evening and May Day at dawn the next day.

Beltane is the night before, and I don't really remember much of the significance, mainly because it was 10 years ago, and i had smacked my head very hard right before we were to go, but it did involve jumping over a fire as a kind of spiritual cleansing. You haven't seen anything until you have seen a bunch of women in long hippy skirts jumping over a fire. no one caught fire, luckily.

My friend's mother, and the mothers of a number of the kids we knew, was also part of a Morris Dancing troupe whose main performance was a May Day celebration. So, as part of our research, we joined the Morris Dancing troupe and learned all the dances and participated in the May Day celebrations. We even got a pancake breakfast afterward! And there was a Maypole! Morris Dancing is traditionally done by men, but this group was all women. so much fun! you get to have bells on your calves and wave hankies and hit sticks! all to the sounds of an accordion and a fiddle! yeah! There is alot of morris dancing on youtube, but here is some to get you started.

all in all, we had an awesome time, and then got to do it all over again for our class! We even borrowed a girlguide red lightbulb "fire", and adapted one of the morris dances to do with just the four of us (most are in sets of six or eight), and directed the Maypole. So much fun. A little embarassing, i must admit, practicing a morris dance in the quad at lunchtime. the one we chose used "Pop goes the Weasel" as the song, because that is easy to remember, and used sticks. we weren't allowed to practice at school with the sticks, so there we were, singing "Round and round the mulberry bush the wack, the wack, the wack, wack, switch! wack, the wack, the wackity wack, Pop! goes the weasel!" in the quad, where all three floors of classrooms around the quad had their windows open to enjoy the nice weather. hmmmm.

oh yes, fun times.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I remember. Did we really use the lightbulb fire... details are extra fuzzy. That was so long ago, but I think I still have pictures somewhere that my mom took of the dancing downtown....

Star Dr.